Strategies for Fighting Ebola: A Columbia University Summit to Help End the Epidemic

Strategies for Fighting Ebola: A Columbia University Summit to Help End the Epidemic

The global threat from the Ebola epidemic continues to spread, as the death toll in West Africa rises and countries around the world remain on high alert against contagion.  Relief organizations and governments agree that stopping the spread of Ebola in Africa protects people around the world.

But there has been little agreement as to what that response should be and how to best implement it.

Join us for a special three-panel summit bringing together leading international experts from Columbia University who will identify the essential action steps needed to eliminate the Ebola epidemic.

*Special note: Ranu Dhillon MD and Estrella Lasry MD, MSc, DTM will join the panel discussion via Skype from Guinea. Please see Panel Two for more biographical information.

TIME: 9 a.m. to Noon
Followed by an optional networking lunch with the speakers.
COST: $25 to attend symposium
$50 to attend lunch with the speakers

Not able to attend? Watch online. Live broadcast from the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) at

Among the topics that will be addressed are:

  • What do we still need to know about Ebola to prevent its transmission and facilitate treatment?
  • What are the medical, economic, and logistical challenges to developing and disseminating a cure?
  • How to best address the shortages and scarcities in health care personnel and medical equipment?
  • How improvements to the current global surveillance system can help better monitor the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola, and help ensure an early and effective response?

List of panel participants include:

Panel One: Medical and Public Health Strategies

 Kathleen Crowley, PA-C, MPH, DrPH is the President of the Mailman School of Public Health Alumni Association and Associate Vice President of Environment Health and Safety for Columbia.

 Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH directs the Global Health Initiative at the Mailman School of Public Health, where she is a professor of Epidemiology. El-Sadr is an expert in building public health and healthy system capacity.

 Scott Hammer, MD is the Chief for the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center. Hammer is a professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and is an investigator with the National Institutes of Health where he performs clinical trials to improve the treatment of infectious disease.

Elaine Larson, PhD, RN, FAAN is an internationally recognized expert in promoting infection prevention and control worldwide. She is Associate Dean for Research at the School of Nursing and holds a joint appointment at the Mailman School of Public Health, where she is a professor of Epidemiology. Dr. Larson is the editor of the American Journal of Infection Control.

 Stephen Morse, PhD is professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and is the global Co-Director of PREDICT, a USAID initiative to strengthen global capacity for surveillance and detection of new infectious diseases. He is also the founding Chair of the Program to Monitor Emerging Diseases (ProMED).

Summit Material for Panel One
Research priorities to inform Public Health and Medical Practice for Ebola Virus Disease – Workshop in Brief

Panel Two: Africa – Containment and Eradication Strategies

Ranu Dhillon, MD will join the panel discussion via Skype from Guinea.
Dr. Ranu Dhillon is Senior Technical Advisor, Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He has been a consultant to support public health systems in Liberia, Nigeria, and India, and has served with the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Jennifer Dohrn, DNP, RN, FAAN directs the Columbia University School of Nursing’s Office of Global Initiatives. She directed a project that provided technical assistance to build nursing and midwifery capacity in 10 Sub-Saharan countries. She serves on the Global Committee for the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, and the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centers for Nursing and Midwifery Development.

Estrella Lasry, MD, MSc, DTM will join the panel discussion via Skype from Guinea.
Dr. Estrella Lasry Tropical Medicine Advisor, Médecins Sans Frontières.  She is currently supporting the MSF intervention in the West Africa Ebola outbreak

Susan Michaels-Strasser, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN is the associate director for nursing programs and project director of the Global Nurse Capacity Building Program (GNCBP) at ICAP. In this role, she oversees a HRSA-funded, multi-country initiative to strengthen and sustain nursing’s role in the care of people living with HIV. She has served at senior management and training levels at various locations throughout Southern Africa, and has recently returned from Sierra Leone.

Rachel T. Moresky, MD, MPH is the Founding Director of the Columbia University Systems Improvement at District Hospitals and Regional Training of Emergency Care (sidHARTe) program and Founding Director of the International Emergency Medicine Fellowship. She is an Assistant Professor at the Columbia University Medical Center, with appointments in the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Program on Forced Migration and Health and the Department of Medicine, Emergency Medicine. Dr. Moresky’s commitment to forming international partnerships that improve emergency medical care in rural settings led to the creation of the sidHARTe program, a joint initiative between Columbia University and the Ministries of Health in Ghana and Rwanda. Dr. Moresky’s current work is focused on emergency care health system strengthening and the development of technical and policy tools to support delivery of acute care in resource limited settings. Her work examines determinants of healthcare-seeking behavior, task-shifting in emergency medicine,  injury epidemiology, health system preparedness and interventions to improve child  survival using low resource and noninvasive technologies.

Panel Three: Public Policy, Economic, and Business Strategies

Les Funtleyder  (Moderator) directs strategic investments for Opko Health, is the health care portfolio manager for E Squared Asset Management, and a partner with Bluecloud Healthcare, a U.K.-based incubator of health care companies in Africa. Widely quoted in the business and financial media, he is the author of Healthcare Investing: Profiting from the New World of Pharma, Biotech, and Health Care Services.

Irwin Redlener, MD is professor of Health Policy and Management and Co-Founder, president of the Children’s Health Fund and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at The Earth Institute. Dr. Redlener is a nationally recognized expert on disaster preparedness policies, pandemic influenza, the threat of terrorism in the U.S., and the impact and consequences of major natural disasters and related issues.

Christopher Reim is the managing director of the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance and a managing general partner of Innovate NY Fund, LP. Christopher Reim is a graduate of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where he is also an adjunct faculty member.

Jeff Schlegelmilch is the Managing Director for Strategic Planning and Operations at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He oversees projects related to the practice of disaster preparedness and guides the development of strategic planning for the center. His areas of expertise include public health preparedness including planning, training and exercising. Topics of past work include developing inter-organizational processes for operational epidemiological modeling, evacuation and sheltering planning for people with medical dependencies, and adapting private sector business processes to support disaster response and recovery operations. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from UMASS Amherst in Health Policy and Management, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Quinnipiac University.

Witney Schneidman is a senior international advisor for Africa at Covington & Burling, who provides strategic advice on political, economic, social and regulatory issues that are critical to companies’ success in Africa. Previously, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and played a key role in ensuring the passage and implementation of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, and the establishment of the U.S.-SADC Forum, the U.S.-Angola Bilateral Consultative Commission and the U.S. Nigeria Joint Economic Partnership Committee.

Event sponsored by: Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York, The Columbia University Club of New York, the Columbia Alumni Association, Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University’s School of Nursing, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and Columbia’s School of Physicians and Surgeons

Thank you to the Columbia Ebola working group:

Allison Turza Bajger, John R.D. Celock, Wendy Diller, Helen Edelberg, Reva Feinstein, Les Funtleyder, Joseph E. Godfrey, Marc Kaplan, Cleve Langton, Mairead Moore, Emily Morris, Anke Nolting, Scott Pesner, Martha C. Romney, Louise Rosen, and Jennifer Shaw.

Event Chairs:  Todd Rubsamen ’99BUS and Gregory A. Thomson ’99BUS


CUCNY Member Panel Registration CUCNY Member Lunch Registration

Columbia University Club Members will be billed through Club Accounts.

Student Registration


General Admission Panels General Admission Lunch